EU integration on the agenda at Democratic Commonwealth Forum
By Salome Modebadze
Friday, May 20
The two-day Parliamentary Forum of the Democratic Commonwealth was hosted by Hotel Radisson on May 19. Discussing the issues related to democratization in Europe and in the European neighborhood the Georgian hosts and international guests spoke of the ongoing reforms in Georgia and the level of democratization in the country. Suggesting the appropriate steps for receiving EU membership, the representatives of the European Parliament (EP) and foreign experts expressed their full support towards Georgia’s integration to the international organizations.
As Emanuel Zingers the President of the Forum told the Georgian media, the EU has more obligations towards Georgia than vice versa. “Your country is in the hardest conditions as it has to carry out western standards in the frames of a partial occupation,” he said confident that Georgia would achieve all its defined goals despite the obstacles from the countries opposed to its integration to EU and NATO.
The EP representatives spoke further of the forum as an opportunity for Georgia to deepen its cooperation with the international society. The forum uniting the principles of democracy had been the proof of the EU’s support towards Georgian democracy, while strengthening these principles should reflect well on the entire country. Stressing how Georgia has taken the leading position among the Eastern Partnership programme member countries, Boris Tarasiuk Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament welcomed Georgia’s constant improvements in competitiveness, the struggle against corruption and freedom of the industrial and business sectors.
Talking of the Rose Revolution as the first indicator of Georgia’s devotion to the democratization processes, Georgian Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze spoke of the importance of internal reforms and foreign threats to his European colleagues. Stressing that democratization would be the main defense for the country with a hard geopolitical location like Georgia, Bakradze spoke of necessity for becoming the part of the large democratic institutions. “We are proud that Georgia has become an example for other countries to follow on their path to democracy,” he said encouraging everyone to go on developing democratic values and never to rest on his or her laurels.
Delivering his speech at the forum the EP President Jerzy Buzek spoke of EU’s role in the region which should assist the world to become more peaceful and democratic. Encouraging the sides to intensify cooperation in the frames of the Eastern Partnership Programme Buzek emphasized the need for solving the frozen conflicts. Expressing the full support towards Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty the EP President worried that the Russian army is still occupying Georgian regions.
Praising Georgian reforms as the best path towards integration to the EU Buzek encouraged the Georgian parliamentary Chairman to carry out newer reforms in the judiciary system, to promote media pluralism and improve cooperation with the opposition thus give an additional impulse for economic promotion. “Georgian-EU cooperation is very important for both sides. Georgia is a truly European country with European traditions – we are sharing our past and I’m very glad that Georgia wants to have deep relations with Europe,” EP President stated.
Talking of human rights protection as “the most sacred” issue for the EU Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Georgia Philip Dimitrov spoke of the drawbacks Georgia is facing in this direction. “Georgia is standing on the path to democratization but the country shouldn’t make a step back but go on following its path,” Dimitrov said stressing that the EU would encourage its partners in overcoming the obstacles. Emphasizing the EU’s great support towards Georgia in establishing the reforms Dimitrov stressed that Georgia’s integration to European society would be prompted by its compatibility with EU standards.